Recap – Ground Water Replenishment Facility – Fountain Valley Jan 9 th.

The tour is given the first Friday of every month.  The plant converts waste and separates the water from it in three steps. The first step is a micro filtering process.  The filters only allow for water molecules to pass through.  The next step is RO reverse osmosis, which I cannot explain very well so I’ll leave that alone.  The third and final step is a combination of ultra violet rays and hydrogen peroxide.

The result is we produce 70 million gallons a day of clean water. This water is then pumped back into our ground water basin which OCMW manages.  The basin includes a number of cities, of which Anaheim consumes the most water.  The chart went over storage facilities including the Dams and storage facilities upstream.

The first part of the tour consisted of a presentation by Becky Mudd, tour coordinator.    She did a little survey of attendee’s age range and other information. Then she went over in detail where we get our water from and the layout of the ground water basin.  Many questions were asked and answered during the presentation.

The presentation lasted more than an hour.  Some of the things that struck me are that this plant was the first of its kind to be built in the world.  The plant produces 70 million gallons water a day. There will be two expansions in the next ten years that will bring that number to 130 million gallons a day.

The cost to initially build the plant was $481 million and was financed half by the water district and half by matching funds that came from the Feds and State. The engineering firm that build the Plant was I believe J.F. Shay, I will verify that.

I still don’t understand the wells HB has drilled into the aquifers, which are layers or water and shale (or something).  Also didn’t understand the some other details, so I will be touring the plant again to get some of those details filled in. Some other tidbits of information were:

  1. Much of the water up North is used by farming and vineyards.
  2. We use 20% of all energy in California pushing water around the state, especially with the aqueducts.
  3. South County uses mostly imported water, which is the most expensive.
  4. The Governor emergency response to our Drought was to cut off all but 5% of the water we get from up north. There was a lot of question about this and I’m still not sure I felt comfortable with the answers.
  5. We store a lot of water from the Pravda Dam.

After about an hour we put out hard hats on and toured the facility. We went through each station of the process that I explained in the first paragraph.  It basically a series of pipes that push and pull (I guess) water through filers, backwash water that cleans filers and then deposits of waste which goes back to the sanitation district for final process.

The plant itself is run by 61 Employees with some in four shifts.  From the naked eye it appears the plant runs itself but there is a lot of testing of water, maintenance or filters and what else I’m not sure of.  I was stick by how clean the plant was and some of the details on what filters they chose when the plant was being build. For instance they decided to go with vendors from Germany and Australia rather than American Vendors because they had a better product.

The person who gave the tour was Becky Mudd, bmudd@ocwd,com, as I said. She said I could ask questions and she would get the answers as best she could. One of the topics we talked about was Fracking which is being doe in Brea, and what risks were involved. She said she could get answers from the Geolisgst on staff by just emailing her. This is a great educational tour and I hope everyone that can will take it. It’s around the corner from us so we should take it in.

The question I had after the tour was given is why we need Poseidon to build a Desalination plant, the engineering firm that built this plant I’m sure could build a Desalination Plant. This plant was an innovative first time endeavor whereas Desalination is old technology so I doubt they would have much problems duplicating what Poseidon would do.

In addition I think it would be easier for the OCWD to manage both plants and save a lot of our money.  They also should be able to distribute the water in the most efficient way since they manage the whole process now. Plus we would get to use our own good credit and not be taking the chance of an outside company hurting it.

I would also feel more comfortable that if the OCWD ran the plant maintenance would be done in a timely manner, regardless of cost of filters etc. which are very expensive.  Would a private firm hedge (no pun emended) a bit on changing filters and other maintenance to increase their bottom line?  Especially if the price they charge for water is fixed.

Another question is if instead of a Desal plant it wouldn’t be better to build these ground water replenishment plants up and down the coast. They cost less to build., create more water and are more environmentally friendly. They not only create a water source they recycle our waste. And from what Becky said they use far less energy than a Desal Plant does. In the end who would you trust the OCWD that has already produced 147,410,434,800 Gallons or water or the Company that has yet to produce any.

Link to OCWD Ground Water Replenishment website

.Clem Dominguez

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